We woke to a foggy morning, which made us less interested in going to a wine tasting in the nearby hamlet of Hofheim. We did need to go out, though… or really, I needed to go out. So we decided to stop by a Hofheim burger joint called Beef ‘n Beer, which is right next to a mall called the Chinon Center. Two hours parking there cost one euro!
The restaurant’s Web site tells me that there are two locations, the one in Hofheim, and one in Kelkheim, which is a place I have yet to visit. With a name like Beef ‘n Beer, we were thinking maybe they’d have a list of beers to try, but alas, the beer selection was not that impressive or expansive. However, the restaurant doesn’t take an afternoon pause, has a full bar, and offers a variety of salads, sandwiches, burgers, and main dishes.
We ended up having to search for parking, because a lot of people were out today. We managed to snag a spot on the top level of the parking garage at the Chinon Center, then it was easy to walk to the restaurant. An attractive waitress invited us to sit anywhere we wanted. She didn’t speak English to us, but I did hear her speak perfect English to another patron. I’m not sure he was American, either. He could have been from Sweden, for all I know!
I ended up ordering an Avocado Burger, which was a burger with bacon, cheese, onions, lettuce and avocado slices. Bill had The Original Australian, which was a sandwich on a sub roll with Argentinian beef strips, fried onions, tomatoes, pickles, and lettuce. Both sandwiches came with steak fries and cole slaw.
The Avocado Burger was good, but I couldn’t finish it. It also had a molded patty, which I don’t usually like the texture of, though it wasn’t too off putting at Beef ‘n Beer. Bill loved his sandwich. I think I might order that next time, or come hungrier and try one of the main courses. They have steaks, salmon, dorade, and even spare ribs.
I enjoyed the chilled out ambiance in the restaurant, which included comfortable bench seating and cool music. It’s also a dog friendly place. One guy brought his two dogs with him, and I almost tripped over his sweet black Labrador as we entered the place. In warmer months, there’s a small Biergarten area, too. Bill and I both commented that we expected more of a beer selection, but they had stuff we were happy to drink. I’m sure it pleases the local clientele.
Lunch came to a little over 36 euros, which Bill paid for with cash. He could have used a card, too, an option I see is spreading rapidly in Germany. For the longest time, paying with a card wasn’t such a common thing to do here. I guess COVID changed that somewhat.
After lunch, we walked downtown to see if anything was going on. We ended up stopping in a little hole in the wall Fair Trade shop, which offered coffees, teas, condiments, soaps, baby clothes, and wines, all of which came from Fair Trade sources. We bought some coffee, soap, almond butter, wine, and chocolate. How many times have we walked past the Weltladen without noticing? I don’t know, but I will make a point of stopping in again. They have some cute stuff! I love Hofheim, too. It’s a nice town.
Then we completed the loop around Hofheim and took a short rest near the Wine Chalet. For once, we didn’t partake of any wine. We just sat there, enjoyed the change of scenery and lovely cool fall temperatures and colors, as well as a little irreverent graffiti. I feel like I’ve almost missed the fall this year, as worried as I’ve been about Arran.
Speaking of Arran… below is a video of how he and Noyzi welcomed us home…
Wednesday, we’re going to Ribeauville, France for our 20th wedding anniversary. Originally, our plan was to stay until November 20 (Sunday). However, we were supposed to see James Taylor in concert in Frankfurt on November 8. He came down with COVID and had to cancel several shows. Poor guy has been stuck in Zurich all week… which is not such a bad place to be stuck. He was able to reschedule Frankfurt for November 19th. So, if the show is still going on next Saturday night, we’re going to come home a day early and see him play. We have second row seats, after all. Not sure that will ever happen again! If he has to cancel again, we’ll stay in France for another night. Either way, we’re paid up, and we have appealing plans.
Sunday afternoon, after our visit to the Lindt Home of Chocolate and rainy drive next to the shore of Lake Zürich, we found ourselves in need of lunch. I had spotted a cute pizzeria on our drive, but parking was a challenge and it was really pouring rain. I was enjoying the misty views of the lake, but the heavy deluge was making us nervous. So instead of continuing around the lake, we decided to head back toward Zürich.
By the time we got back to the city, the rain had stopped and the sun was coming out. As we walked out of the parking garage, I spotted what looked like a promising lunch spot. They were advertising “craft” burgers and beer. I’m generally kind of wary of burgers in Europe, but this place did look like it might be okay– especially given how many people were there. Unfortunately, they were “complete”, so we kept looking. We finally ended up at Restaurant-Boucherie August, a place that was attached to a hotel.
We stopped at Boucherie August because it looked open, and because the lady cleaning off the tables outside was friendly. It smelled good, too. When we walked in, it was about 2:00, and the place was packed. An hour later, when we’d finished, we were the last ones in the dining room. The dining room was all checkerboarded and the tables were close together, but had plexiglass partitions on either side to discourage the spread of germs. The hard chairs were a bit uncomfortable– they were the kind with arm rests that don’t actually allow for resting one’s arms, yet limit the width of the chair. Service was a little slow, but it was friendly enough. We enjoyed our food, too, although I think their Web site is a bit over the top in what people should expect.
Getting to and from the restroom was a little confusing, since we had to go into the hotel area to find it. And then, once we were finished eating, it took awhile before we could find anyone to bring the bill. But we were just looking for something to eat. What we had was enough that we didn’t need anything else for the rest of the day… except, of course, wine. 😉
As it was our last day in Switzerland, we were ready to wind things down. We rationalized that if we got hungry later, we could just order something from the hotel. Their menu is a bit limited, but offers small plates. I couldn’t see myself wanting more food on Sunday night. We hung out in the pleasant foyer for awhile, enjoying more Swiss wine. I must admit, I had very limited exposure to Swiss wines prior to this trip, but we found several that we enjoyed while we were staying at B2 Boutique Hotel. I definitely saw some ideas for future trips, too, if we’re lucky enough to keep living here. Bill tells me we’ll probably be here at least another year, but we’ll see what happens. As I’ve recently and poignantly learned, there are never any guarantees about the future.
Bill’s work with his Jungian therapist has him thinking about other things he might like to do with his life besides planning military exercises. One thing he has been considering is taking classes at the C.G. Jung Institute in Küsnacht. I think that would be very exciting for him. He’s an unusually empathic person, with a warm, kind, heart and a keen intellect. Jung fascinates him, and that interest was a major reason why we decided to go to Switzerland in the first place. If Bill decides to take any courses, we might be spending more time in Switzerland.
As for me, I was just really happy to get out and travel again. I have really missed going to new places and having things to write about. Last night, I shared a few posts from this series in the Facebook food and wine group I run, since there were a few people in the group who had expressed interest in the hotel. Someone gave me a “laughing” emoji and commented that my “blog is bigger than Switzerland.”
I’m not sure what that woman meant by her comment; but here’s what I assume— which I realize could be a mistake. She might wonder what compels me to write these long posts about my travels, since a lot of people don’t like writing. She might wonder why I would share them, since she probably doesn’t care about what other people do when they travel. Maybe she’s turned off by the name of my blog, which I’ve discovered many people in the military community are.
Here’s a hint, though– I don’t really care if you think my blog title is offensive or bragging. If you take the time to get to know me, you’ll find out why I call my blog(s) The Overeducated Housewife (– I am a housewife with three university degrees, which means I am literally overeducated for my lot in life.If I had known this was what I’d be doing with my life, I would have skipped grad school.) I also don’t really care if you think my decision to share the posts is annoying. I share the posts for the interested. Those who aren’t interested can simply keep scrolling.
What is the biggest reason why I blog?
I mostly blog for ME…
When we lived in Germany the first time, I wasn’t a blogger. I wrote product reviews and articles for content mills. I’m sorry I didn’t blog in those days, if only because I could have kept better access to some of the photos I took back then and some of the stories I took from those experiences. I switched from a PC to iMac in 2011, which made a lot of my photos and videos from that time incompatible with my machine. If I had blogged in those days, I would have curated some of those memories. Sadly, most of the stuff I wrote during our first Germany tour is lost, thanks to Epinions and Associated Content (Yahoo Voices) tanking. I do have some stuff I saved on Facebook, but it’s a fraction of what it could be.
But I also blog for YOU…
I’ve been in Germany this time for seven years, and I’ve gained a lot of experience. I write these posts for people who might find them interesting or useful. I write them for people who are looking for trip ideas or reviews. I have benefited from people who have taken the time to write about their experiences. Their posts have contributed to my memories. So I’m simply trying to repay the favor.
In any case, I realize there will probably be a day when I can’t have these experiences as easily as I can now. So I want to preserve the memories, mainly for myself, but also for those who might find them entertaining. They’re free of charge to read, and maybe some people think that being “free of charge” is about what they’re worth. But to me, these blog posts represent priceless and precious memories. And again, I actually enjoy writing. My mom expresses her creativity through cross stitch and knitting. I hate doing those things. For me, writing and making music are creative pursuits that are truly enjoyable. So that’s why I write these “bigger than Switzerland” blogs. But I realize not everyone likes or appreciates them. I can’t please everybody, and would go crazy trying.
And now, to end this series…
We spent our last night watching Olympic coverage while drinking wine. In the morning, we got up, had our last breakfast, and were delighted to see that someone in the hotel had already brought up our Volvo from the parking garage down the hill. We packed up our stuff and I waited by the car while Bill went to settle our hotel charges. I was afraid we were really going to have an enormous bill– I was thinking maybe 3 or 4 thousand Swiss Francs. But it turned out our bill was only about 2,700, which is still a lot, but it included four nights in a junior suite, one dinner for two, many bottles of Swiss wine, valet parking, and spa for two. Breakfast, Internet access, and minibar were all included with the room. So, overall, I left the B2 Boutique Hotel pretty contented, even about what we spent for our trip.
Our drive home was completely unremarkable. We didn’t even encounter any Staus… nor did we eat anything interesting. We stopped at the “Erotic McDonalds” off the Autobahn near Heidelberg… same place we stopped on the way from Stuttgart to Wiesbaden when we moved up here in late November 2018.
Now… one last detail. I mentioned in my second post that our old dog, Arran, was going to be having a dental. Before we set off on our trip, Bill took him in to the vet to be evaluated and get some antibiotics for tomorrow’s procedure. Well… after we got home, Bill went to get some stuff from the grocery store. I was doing laundry. As I carried clean clothes up from the basement, my eyes landed on what looked like a piece of off white plastic on the floor.
I picked up the strange looking item, which I really thought was something that had broken off something inanimate. A few seconds later, much to my horror, I realized that I was actually holding one of Arran’s “fangs”. It must have snapped off on Thursday, before we took him to the Tierpension Birkenhof. I immediately felt dread. Arran is Bill’s baby, but he’s getting old, and we worry about his health. Last time we took a trip (to Heidelberg in June), Arran injured himself under a bush and had to visit the emergency vet. Seven hours and 800 euros later, he came home with stitches. And now he had a broken tooth.
I immediately started wondering if he’d spent the weekend in agony. I remembered an earlier dog, Flea, had broken a fang when we were here the first time. A couple of weeks later, Flea was diagnosed with prostate cancer, so the tooth never got fixed. We were a lot less acquainted with German vets at that time, plus we moved back to the States. This time, we were somewhat prepared, at least. Arran already had a dental appointment set for tomorrow, and Bill took him in yesterday, just to make sure he’s not in pain. And hopefully, he doesn’t have prostate cancer, too… (which he shouldn’t– I certainly haven’t seen any signs of it). Arran actually seems more chipper than ever, which makes me wonder if that tooth was hurting before it broke. He had tons of energy on his walk yesterday and has no trouble eating. I expect that after he recovers from his dental, he’ll be even spunkier. Maybe he’ll even be nicer to Noyzi. We’ll see.
Well, if you’ve been following along on this blog series, thanks for reading and your patience. I’m through sharing, now. Until next time…
Sunday’s plan included a trip to a brand new, beautiful chocolate museum. I’m referring to the Lindt Home of Chocolate, a gorgeous facility that opened to the public in September 2020. This is the place where chocolate lovers go to pay homage to the sweet delight of a well-known brand. Bill tells me it was my idea to visit. I’m not sure how I heard of it– someone probably alerted me to its presence. We would have discovered it regardless.
Let me just state upfront that I LOVE chocolate, and I like Lindt chocolate very much. It’s not my favorite chocolate, but I certainly won’t turn it down. And if you take the chocolate tour, you can satisfy your sweet tooth. This is a very tasting heavy place that is kid friendly. There are many excellent interactive exhibits, as well as headsets for those who want to learn everything. I did take a headset, but never used it. I prefer to read… and all of the exhibits at the museum have explanations in English and German.
Unlike at the Haus C.G. Jung museum, it’s perfectly fine to take photos at the Lindt museum, although you’re supposed to stow your bags in lockers. I took a lot of pictures, and we left there with a huge bag of chocolate that we’ll be enjoying for awhile. I did notice a sign that forbade strollers, so keep that in mind if you have a small child you’re considering bringing along for a tour.
The museum also has special tours and classes available. You can also buy vouchers as gifts for others. Bill said the experience reminded him a little of Swarovski’s Crystal Tour in Wattens, Austria, which I’ve done twice. I agree with him. The Lindt Home of Chocolate is a really cool museum, even with the face masks… and a great representation of the Lindt brand. There’s a huge parking garage at the museum, so you don’t need to worry about parking if you choose to drive.
After we finished at the chocolate museum, we decided to take a drive along the lake, where we promptly ran into a rain storm. I was looking for cute places to have lunch, but it was Sunday, and if you live in certain European countries, you know that means a lot of places are closed. We weren’t that hungry anyway, after all the chocolate we ate in the museum. We were a little afraid of being caught in flooding, as the recent German floods were fresh in our minds. When the rain really started coming down hard, we turned around and drove back into the city, parked in a much less expensive garage, and went looking for lunch.
More on that in the next (and probably last) installment.
The boat arrived at Küsnacht-Heslibach at precisely 1:35pm. Bill and I got off and started the short walk to the Haus C.G. Jung. As we were disembarking, I noticed a little beach right next to the pier. It looked inviting and, indeed, people were swimming and sunning. I noticed a few ladies had brought their playful dogs, which made me miss ours. We could have gotten off at the previous stop, but it would have been a longer walk to the house. The Küsnacht-Heslibach stop is just around the corner from the Jung house.
Before I knew it, we were at the end of the driveway, walking down to the house itself, a stately and unique mansion with well-manicured gardens and a lawn. I noticed there was a swing set there, no doubt for Jung’s descendants, who still call the place home. How nice of them to allow Jung enthusiasts to visit! The house was built in 1908, much of it paid for by the inherited wealth Jung’s wife, Emma Jung-Rauschenbach, brought into the family. They had five children. It seemed like they had it made, especially since Jung was a well-regarded psychiatrist who had studied with Freud, was an artist, and knew several languages.
Well… nobody’s perfect, and that also applies to people like Carl G. Jung. He had an open affair with his assistant and former patient, Toni Wolff. Emma tolerated the affair, and the three seemed to work harmoniously so that Jung could create his science of analytical psychology. I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about Jung– he’s really more Bill’s interest than mine. But as someone who has seen a psychologist and studied social work, I did find the museum very interesting for a lot of reasons. Artists will also enjoy it, since many of Jung’s works are displayed on the first floor, which is the self-guided part of the tour.
Carl Jung was a very unusual person with great vision. His house has a tower that he wanted built. He’d actually hoped the tower would be a library, but that didn’t work out. The tower has stairs instead of books. On the brief guided tour, we did visit Jung’s library and inner sanctum. When we walked inside, I noticed it reeked of tobacco. Our guide said that Jung was a heavy smoker. I thought I smelled whisky, too. It wouldn’t surprise me, although the guide didn’t mention a love of alcohol. I asked her how many languages Jung spoke, since I noticed books in several languages, including English. She said he spoke German, French, English, and had studied Greek and Latin. I was amused to see a book about yoga in the library… our guide said he’d read pretty much every book in the carefully arranged library.
Our group probably consisted of about ten people, all of whom were younger than Bill and I are, and none of whom appeared to be American. One couple was very young– the female half was pretty and had a very beautiful figure, which she showed off with an obscenely short skirt. Or maybe they were actually shorts. I don’t know what they were, although she did distract me when she bent over to look at something and gave me a full on view of her privates. I was really glad she’d worn underwear. The funny thing is, when I saw them approaching, I had a feeling I was going to end up seeing something I shouldn’t. I have some empathy, though. When I was younger, I made some unwise clothing choices, too. And I’ve never had a figure as pretty as hers.
We were supposed to leave our bags and cameras in lockers provided by the museum. A couple of people brought their phones with them, and one lady took forbidden photos inside the museum. A chaperone was quick to admonish her. I thought the way he did it was kind. He said she could keep the image she’d taken, but not to take others. Then, much to my amazement, she asked if she could climb the ladder to the top shelf of books! That request was denied! It is allowed to take photos outside, on the grounds.
The grounds at the museum are very beautiful and peaceful. It was a pleasure to walk around them and take in views of the lake. There’s also a public restroom outside of the house, which came in handy. Below are some photos from our visit. Tickets for adults are 22 Swiss Francs; kids from 0-11 years old can visit free of charge. I think they’re worth the price if you’re into Jung. The tour guide wasn’t the most energetic or entertaining, but she did seem very respectful and knowledgeable about Jung’s life and work. No one tried to stump her, though.
We walked back to the dock, where we had about half an hour to kill before the boat came back for us. I watched the lake and got lots of video. I was trying to capture lightning on video, but it didn’t work out for me. I did get lots of thunder and plenty of people enjoying the lake, even as the storm approached. I kept hearing the voice in my head from all the lifeguards who demanded that everyone get out of the pool! I was surprised no one was doing that in safety-conscious Switzerland. Below, you can see how I amused myself with my big, fancy, digital camera… I need to play with it some more and learn to take better pictures.
It started raining as we waited for the boat. At first, it was pleasant and refreshing… but then it started to get heavier. By the time we got on the boat, it was coming down. I was suddenly glad Bill had given me an umbrella, even though I had complained about having something else to carry in my purse. We ended up sitting outside, barely managing to score chairs under an overhang. After a couple of stops, we were able to move into the restaurant, where I had another beer. 😉
After we got off the boat, we decided to go eat. I was kind of hoping for something interesting, but we ended up at what appeared to be a Swiss beer hall based on the legend of William Tell. Yes, it was very tourist friendly, but I did get to have some surprisingly tasty Swiss style “mac n’ cheese”. Bill had a veal schnitzel… and yes, we drank more beer. The restaurant was called Das Zeughauskeller, and if you walk down the main drag past the Hermes store, it’s doubtful you’ll miss it. Our table was reserved from 6:00pm, which gave us plenty of time to enjoy a sumptuous Swiss meal.
We made our way back to the hotel– first paying the huge parking fee– where we relaxed and watched Father of the Bride on TV. The TVs at the hotel got all sorts of channels– there was something for everyone! Bill and I enjoyed watching BBC. I also enjoyed the bathtub again. All in all, it was a good day.
We had big plans for Saturday. As I mentioned before, Bill has an interest in the work of Carl G. Jung. His home and museum is located in Küsnacht, which is on Lake Zürich. Jung died in 1961, but his home is still in the hands of his descendants, who live there. Because of that, Carl Jung’s museum is not open every day. In fact, it’s only open on Thursdays and two Saturdays per month during the summer season. We were very fortunate that we happened to be visiting at a time when Jung’s house would be open. Bill purchased our tickets online prior to our visit, thus guaranteeing us a spot on the tour. You can buy tickets on the day of your tour, but only if space allows. The first floor of the exhibit is self-guided, but the library and Jung’s office can only be visited as part of the tour, which is about fifteen minutes long and conducted in German or English or both.
Also on the agenda was a stop at the Fraumünster church in Zürich, home of stained glass windows created by Marc Chagall, a French-Russian artist of Belarusian origin. I’m not a particularly religious person, but I do like visiting European churches and admiring the architecture, windows, and pipe organs. Our friend Meg had suggested seeing Chagall’s windows, as well as a few other places that, sadly, will have to wait until the next visit!
After breakfast, we headed downtown, which was very close to the hotel, but was made more complicated by the construction zone I mentioned in part one of this series. Then, once we got to the city, we had to find parking. Unfortunately, Bill chose to park at a garage owned by an upscale department store, not realizing how very expensive it would be. A whole day’s parking at Jelmoli’s garage cost about 49 Francs! Bill was impressed when the machine spit out a paper to help him remember which level he parked on… well, there’s a price for that kind of service, isn’t there? 😉
Anyway, we were blissfully ignorant of that when we parked and set off toward the church. It was five Swiss Francs to enter the church, but it was fine to take pictures and visit the crypt museum. I liked Chagall’s windows fine, but I actually preferred the other windows, which were made by Augusto Giacometti. The crypt museum was just opened in 2016, having previously been sealed from the public. The pipe organ, which consists of 6959 pipes, is the largest in the entire canton of Zürich. The church itself dates from July 21, 853! Below are some photos from our visit to Fraumünster.
After we left the Fraumünster, we went to the Grossmünster, which is very close by. On the way there, we ran into a wedding party… actually, there were a bunch of them on Saturday. I saw at least three brides in dresses having pictures taken and quaffing champagne. Augusto Giacometti also made windows for the Grossmünster. Below are some photos from that period between churches.
Once we were finished looking at the windows, it was just after noon. I wanted to eat lunch (and pee), mainly because I have a tendency to get “hangry” when I get hungry, and our tickets were at 2pm, which I figured would put me over the line of hostility. I suggested lunch after our church visits, but Bill looked at his watch and said he was concerned about the time. I reminded him of what I’m like when I’m hungry. Again, he said he was worried about missing our appointment at 2:00.
At that point, he wasn’t sure if we were driving or taking a boat to the museum. I told him to make up his mind. He told me it was my choice. I got pissed off and said, “You’re always trying to lead until it’s time to make a decision. Either lead, or don’t lead. This museum visit is important to YOU, and you’ve done the research, not me.”
So then we headed toward the dock… and I said, “So, hot dogs for lunch, then?”
Bill tried to deny that was what was coming… but when we got to the dock, sure enough, that was what was available. So I made him pose for a photo. The short lake cruise takes about 90 minutes to go round trip, or you can do one way trips or get off at stops. And, for the curious, yes– there are concessions on the boat, and bathrooms. I think Bill paid about 6 Francs per adult for our tickets. It’s a pretty good deal, especially for Switzerland. Below are some photos from our pathetic hot dog lunch and our cruise to Küsnacht.
I almost forgot to mention, while we were waiting for the boat to arrive, we wound up standing near a group of obnoxious young Americans. One was a guy, who looked to be about twenty or so, and there were also three or four young women, who looked to be the same age.
The guy was very obnoxiously smoking a pipe, trying to look cool and failing miserably. I wanted to grab the pipe from him, because it was bad enough we were all standing in line, waiting to board the boat in masks. He had to pollute the air with a pipe, too… and he looked really stupid in the process. And making matters worse was that they were loud, talking about their adventures in Geneva and other areas of Europe. I did agree with one of the young ladies, who said the weather was agreeable. I’m sure that wherever they came from in America, the temperatures were a hell of a lot higher. The pipe smoking guy, though… he was making my temperature rise with temper. What a clueless jackass! I was glad they didn’t follow us to Jung’s house and we didn’t bump into them again.
In part six, I’ll write about our visit to the museum. Stay tuned!
We got back to the B2 Boutique Hotel in the mid afternoon. It was just the right time to try out the Thermalbad! As I mentioned, the hotel is literally attached to the Thermalbad, although it’s run by a different company. Hotel guests get a small price break on the cost of admission– 30 Swiss Francs for 24 hour access. That means two days worth, since the spa closes at 10:00pm. We went to the front desk, where we picked up the familiar plastic bracelets offered at all of the spas we’ve been to yet, and a couple of towels. We changed in our hotel room, although the spa has changing rooms. We didn’t discover the changing rooms at the spa until we were almost done! There’s also a small snack bar, although we didn’t notice the service to be particularly good at the one on the fourth floor. You can get a variety of snacks and a wide variety of beverages there, including beer, wine, and cocktails. That is, you can get them if you can find someone willing to wait on you. 😉
The spa offers massages that can be booked in advance. There’s an Irish-Roman bath, as well as a wonderful rooftop pool that offers views of Zürich while you enjoy bubbles and massaging jets. There’s also a Thermal Spa Waterworld, that we almost missed! In short, there’s plenty to occupy a couple of hours of your time, and you’ll feel relaxed afterwards.
I was not allowed to take any pictures, although the spa is not textile free. I did sneak a picture of the door, though, because I thought it was funny. I liked the “no sex” graphic! Below is a video that shows the facilities.
Bill and I have been to quite a few spas in Europe. This one was interesting. It reminded me a little bit of the Starkenberger beer pool we enjoyed in Tarrenz, Austria, back in 2015, except it wasn’t nearly as private and there weren’t any funny pictures on the walls of naked people. Also, there wasn’t any beer involved… it was mainly the spirit of the place that made me think of the awesome beer pools in Austria that were made from repurposed beer vats. I was also reminded of the Roman-Irish baths Friedrichsbad in Baden-Baden and Wiesbaden’s own Roman-Irish baths at the Kaiser-Friedrich Therme. The main difference, of course, is that there’s no nudity. I’m sure that’s a plus for a lot of people. I think my favorite part of the spa experience were the awesome pools on the first floor that offered massage bubbles. There was no one else in there when we were using them.
After we were finished at the spa, we went back to the room, got cleaned up, and went looking for dinner. Bill thought we could walk to the lake in about ten minutes. Unfortunately, he wasn’t entirely sure of where were going, so we ended up taking a short stroll in a residential area of town. We finally made our way back and stumbled across a neighborhood gem of a restaurant called Bederhof. This place is very close to the hotel and offers good food, kind service, and a view of sheep grazing on a hillside. I made one guy crack up because he was describing one dish in German and I stopped him cold when I heard the word “champignons”. Mushrooms are disgusting to me. Incidentally, my German is terrible, but I can sort of speak restaurant… I had some trouble in Brunnen, though, because the Swiss dialect was tricky for me. Also, they use different words for some things. Like, I noticed that the word on doors for “push” was stossen (bump), rather than drücken (press).
Below are some photos from our impromptu dinner at a local Swiss joint, along with a few pictures of B2 Boutique Hotel’s exercise room.
Several different people took care of us, but one guy talked to us more than the others. There was a cute little boy there– maybe two or three years old– and the one guy who took care of us said that was his nephew, Jayden. I was surprised by the name Jayden. To me, that’s a very American name. I didn’t think our waiter was a native English speaker, although he spoke fairly competently, albeit with what sounded like a speech impediment of some kind. Jayden soon left with his mom, a beautiful young woman, who caught the plentiful public transport.
Eventually, he asked us where we’re from. We said we’re Americans living in Germany. It turned out the waiter was himself, half American, half German! He said he was born in Colorado, and his Air Force dad had worked as a contractor for DynCorp, which was a big contracting company back in the day. But clearly, our waiter, an American citizen, has spent most of his life in Germany– Kaiserslautern, to be exact. He joked that being half American, half German was having the “worst” heritage! But he was quite pleased to hear we weren’t Trump supporters, and he told us his sweetheart and the mother of his daughter is from Somalia. His daughter is Swiss, because she was born in Switzerland. Lucky her! The waiter also said he loves Switzerland. I can’t blame him for that.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, where we were warmly greeted by the same guy who had kind of ignored us the night before. We enjoyed more Swiss wine, then went to bed with big plans for Saturday. More on that in part five!
First thing’s first. I have to write a disclaimer about the title of this series. I kind of made up the word scheißig– which kind of translates to “shitty”. I use the word “shitty” a lot in my daily language. Instead of looking up the actual German word for “shitty”, I decided to add “ig” to the German word for shit and hope it worked. My German friend tells me the German word for “shitty” is actually “beschissen”. However, apparently the word “scheißig” is used in slang situations, especially in Hesse. As luck would have it, I live in Hesse… and this slang bastardization of the word “shitty” works a lot better with “die Schweiz”.
With that explained, on with the tale of our trip. We planned to leave Wiesbaden on July 22nd. I had noticed our older dog, Arran, was having some dental issues. He yawned and I saw a black spot. His last dental cleaning was a year ago, but he’s getting to be an old codger. I asked Bill to take him to the vet to have him checked and schedule a dental cleaning. Bill took him in and got some antibiotics, which Arran will start tonight, and an appointment for this Thursday, the 29th, for a dental.
Then, on Thursday the 22nd, we packed everything up and headed south, stopping by the Birkenhof Tierpension on the way, to drop off Arran and Noyzi. All seemed fine as we handed them over. Noyzi and Arran were wagging their tails and very excited to go into their “hotel room”, then out to play. (I promise, this part of the story is relevant…)
We headed down A5, which is also the route we now take when we want to go to France. At lunchtime, we stopped in Baden-Baden for lunch. Regular readers might remember that Bill and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary in Baden-Baden back in 2018. We enjoyed a spectacular four nights in an upgraded junior suite at Brenner’s Park Hotel and experienced the famous nude Irish-Roman baths at Friedrichsbad. It was a little weird to be stopping there just for lunch on the way to Switzerland. Baden-Baden is a very beautiful town. I would have been happy to have just stayed there. But we were just there for a quick break. We found an excellent Asian restaurant called Vinami Asia Grill and Bar…
Baden-Baden is such a lovely city. We probably should go back for a short break sometime soon. But, like Switzerland, it’s the kind of place where you need to bring lots of money! It’s not cheap!
After lunch, we got back on the road, noticing that there were many “Staus” (traffic jams). Fortunately, they were on the northbound side of the road, so we weren’t troubled as we made our way south. Bill stopped near the border to pick up a 2021 Swiss vignette (toll sticker). I’ve explained this a number of times on this blog. To use Swiss Autobahns, you have to have a special sticker, which costs 40 Swiss Francs. The sticker is good until January 31, 2022. The Swiss issue new ones every year, and you can get them at ADAC stores (or online), at rest stops near the border, or at the border itself. Most other countries that use the vignette system offer them for shorter stints and cheaper prices. Not the Swiss, though… so it pays to make use of the sticker if you live close.
The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful. We arrived in Zürich just in time for traffic/rush hour. Unbeknownst to us, our hotel was also near what would become a construction zone over the weekend. On the way to the B2 Boutique Hotel, we were able to drive straight through, although that took some time, thanks to all the traffic. But by Friday, the area we had come through to reach the hotel was completely blocked off. This caused some stress for Bill, even with the GPS going. I’ve never been a fan of using GPS… the voice always interrupts conversations and music. But Bill likes to use it.
Anyway, we drove up a hillside to get to the B2 Boutique Hotel. As usual, what I had pictured in my head was not what the reality was. Not that I was disappointed at all, mind you… It’s a beautiful hotel, and they’ve done a great job of turning what was a brewery into a nice place to stay– especially if you’re into spas, as I am. A year ago, Switzerland was very laid back about COVID-19 rules. I noticed that no one wore masks indoors in 2020. This year, there were signs everywhere demanding mask use.
I don’t like the masks, but I always cooperate… and yes, I have been vaccinated. Count me among those, however, who hope the mask mandates go away at some point. I really do hate the fucking things. In any case, everyone wore them at the hotel, and most everywhere else we went that was indoors. They had lots of hand sanitizer, too.
I booked us in a junior suite. I usually use travel sites like Expedia or Booking when I make reservations. This time, I booked directly with the hotel, because for some reason, the travel sites wouldn’t let me reserve for two people. They would only let me reserve for one. But, I did get a reward for booking directly… they gave us a free drink. Below are some photos of our room, which was rather unusual but comfortable. For about 500 francs a night, it should have been!
After we settled our bags and got cleaned up, we headed down to the wine library for food and beverages. We decided to try the locally produced Hürlimann lagers, as the hotel was once the Hürlimann brewery. The guy who waited on us for our first two nights was friendly enough, but not the most attentive. Still, the food was pretty good, and although our round of “free drinks” were puny, they were still free. And there was Swiss wine and lots of ethereal jazzy music, mostly performed by people like Diana Krall and Karen Souza… The wine list at this hotel features mostly wines made in Switzerland. We had the chance to try several of them during our stay.
Bill tells me dinner is ready, so I’ll continue with part three tomorrow!
A couple of weeks ago, Bill tried to get us dentist appointments in Stuttgart. Why Stuttgart, and not Wiesbaden? Because we both love our Stuttgart dentist’s work and, even after almost three years in Wiesbaden, we haven’t found a new dentist yet. Although Stuttgart is a couple of hours away by train, when we moved here at the end of 2018, we had visions of coming back down there at regular intervals. And then COVID-19 struck. We haven’t seen Dr. Blair since May 2019, and we won’t see him until the end of August, because he’s booked for the rest of this month and, like so many locals, is taking vacation through most of August.
But Bill still had the days off, so he asked me to plan a short trip. I queried my Facebook friends for ideas. My caveats were that the suggested places had to be somewhat nearby, because I don’t want to fly anywhere unless I absolutely must. I also didn’t want to go anywhere where COVID-19 was on the rise. I’m stressed out enough as it is, even though I’m fully vaccinated with the Moderna shots as of last month.
Bill has been seeing an online Jungian therapist for the past few months. He’s doing so because I’ve been telling him for years that therapy is a great thing, but also because he is fascinated by Carl G. Jung. Bill’s therapist is American and based in Berlin. The guy has a background in art therapy, which also really interests Bill and fits right in with Jung, since Jung was an artist, as well as a great thinker and psychologist. Our friend Meg, who made it possible for us to adopt our Kosovar rescue dog, Noyzi, also has an interest in Jung and has been studying him. It was she who suggested that we visit Küsnacht, which is where Carl Jung’s house and museum is located.
It occurred to me that Bill and I had never actually visited Zürich before this past weekend. We’d only been to its, admittedly superb, airport. When we lived near Stuttgart, we lived pretty close to the city and could have gone there with ease. For that reason, it always lost out to other, more “exciting” cities. Also, I’d heard that Zürich wasn’t that interesting compared to some other places we’ve been. Of course, now that we’re living in Wiesbaden, Zürich is a little more exotic. I decided to see what kind of hotels were available in Zürich and found one that is in a building that used to be a brewery. When I read that it was also connected to a Thermalbad, I was sold! I booked four nights at the B2 Boutique Hotel, located in the Enge area of the city.
Then it turned out that Bill had actually only wanted me to book three nights. We were starting our trip on Thursday, because he’d been trying to get dental appointments for us. When he failed to get them for the time he’d arranged to be off work, he decided to just take Thursday and Friday off instead of his usual Friday and Monday. I misunderstood him, though, and booked four nights instead of three. Bill was a little pissy about it at first, but then I reminded him of all the things we could see and the fact that we haven’t traveled in so long because of COVID-19. He relented, and got today off from work. That turned out to be a good decision, which I’m sure will become clear as I write about this trip.
In the end, I wasn’t surprised that I chose Switzerland for this trip. I’ve had Switzerland on the brain for some time now. For years, I’ve felt kind of “meh” about the beautiful neutral country, mainly because it’s so expensive and always seemed a bit sterile to me. But last year, we took our vacation to Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. We had a great time in Austria, and a decent time in Italy (marred by too many rambunctious kids at our hotel), but Switzerland turned out to be a healing balm to us after four hectic nights at the nice, but noisy and busy Italian property. I was able to rest in Switzerland… enjoy peace and quiet and good food, as well as an excellent spa at the Oberwaid in St. Gallen. I have noticed that Switzerland does spa retreats well.
I was definitely eager to go back to Switzerland, even if it meant we’d be spending more money than usual for our long weekend break. What the hell, anyway? Prior to this past weekend, we hadn’t done any decent traveling in a long time. We might as well spend some money and have some laughs and big fun. As it turned out, we even spent less than I feared we would.
So I’m going to write up my usual blow by blow account of our trip to Die Schweiz, as the Germans like to call it. I expect this series will run at least six or seven parts, depending on how I split up the story. We had a really nice time, and got some much needed rest and relaxation. Now it’s time to get back to work… and reality. Luckily for me, part of my “life’s work” is writing this blog. 😉
Before COVID times, Bill and I loved to visit Little Italy in Wiesbaden. It was one of the first restaurants we discovered when we moved to Wiesabaden in 2018. We love going there on Sundays and having long, elegant lunches. The pandemic put our habit to an end. I think the last time we managed to visit was in summer 2020. Today, Bill asked if I wanted to go out to lunch, and I was happy to agree. And when we parked in Wiesbaden, we found our way to Little Italy, where we were quickly welcomed and seated indoors. We mentioned our vaccinations, but the waiter didn’t seem to care. He simply pointed out the Luca app for contract tracing purposes.
Today’s lunch was as wonderful as always, coupled with fine service and good wine. Below are some photos.
I really enjoyed my risotto, which was perfect and full of shrimp– four grilled on top, and several mixed in the creamy, lime scented risotto. It was pure comfort food. For once, it wasn’t topped with a bread stick. Bill loved his sliced filet, which was cooked to medium rare perfection. I was surprised to see black olives mixed with the potatoes, but Bill said it was really excellent. And, of course, we paired everything with sparkling water and a glass of Primitivo for him and Montepulciano for me.
While we were dining, I got a private message from a Peace Corps friend of mine. He was was a Volunteer in Russia in the early 1990s, then came to Armenia to work. I met him when he was working for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. I was teaching business English there. I had lost touch with him about a year ago, so I was glad to get his message, especially since just last night, we had a memorial for an Armenia Volunteer who suddenly died a couple of months ago. My old friend is the same age as the guy we memorialized last night.
Other than that, it was another wonderful lunch at a neighborhood favorite. We spent about 89 euros before the tip, and it was money well spent. I doubt we’ll need much of a dinner… but I’ll probably indulge in some wine… to process last night a bit. On the way out of Wiesabaden, I got a few photos…
It’s so nice to see things a bit more normal… I don’t know how long it will last, but we’re going to enjoy it.
In other travel news, I have finally booked us a trip to Zurich. Yes, this will be our first visit there, even though we’ve lived pretty close for years. When we were in Stuttgart, we could have been there in about two hours. I got us four nights, starting July 22. I think we’ll do some specialized touring, to include visits to Carl Jung’s museum, which I know will fascinate Bill. Maybe a stop at the Lindt Chocolate Factory for me… I can’t wait. We’re ready for a change of scenery.